MICHAEL Doyle, the Sheffield United midfielder, has warned his team mates not to be lulled into a false sense of security by Oldham Athletic’s perilous position towards the foot of League One, writes James Shield.
United head to Boundary Park today second in the table and having taken 13 points from their last five games. Despite being just a place above the relegation zone, Tony Philliskirk’s side completed a hat-trick of league victories when they beat Portsmouth seven days ago after knocking Liverpool out of the FA Cup.
Doyle said: “Personally, I think this is going to be one of the toughest games we’ll have. We’re both playing for a lot and it’s two in-form teams going head to head.
“Oldham lost to Everton (in the cup) after beating Liverpool but only after a replay. And we know from experience they never give up.”
Doyle was referring to October’s draw at Bramall Lane when Athletic snatched a late equaliser following Nick Blackman’s opener for the hosts.
“This is the time of year when the teams down the bottom start to pick-up points,” Doyle added. “We have to make sure they don’t pick up any against us.
“The gaffer will make sure that we are well prepared. We’ll be looking at the details before the game so nothing will be left to chance.
“We know this will be a very hard match and we’ll be ready.”
United could be without Jamie Murphy and Jonathan Forte (both groin) but manager Danny Wilson, echoing his captain’s sentiments, backed Dominic Poleon to fill the void after making his full debut against Leyton Orient in midweek.
“Dominic did well and he put everything into it,” Wilson said. “I think he could have slept for a week afterwards because he’s not had much football of late but he put absolutely everything in.”
Dean Furman, the Athletic captain, said: “I know we have a big fight on our hands. Over the last few weeks, the boys have all mucked in and we can beat anyone in our division.”